Covid-19 came in like a wrecking ball, didn’t it?
I mean, I was well on my way to far surpassing my 2020 Q2 goals. My April, May, and June 2020 were booked solid, and then every thing came to a standstill. As a goal oriented person, that hurt a little.
From what I’ve been hearing, though, Saint Louis should be opening back up by June, and most other areas in the country have already started to open back up. Because of that, I’ve been researching and prepping for the re-opening of my studio.
And I wanted to give other photographers a little information on what you can do to prepare as well.
Know the symptoms of Covid-19
First and foremost, do your research. Know the symptoms of Covid-19. If you’re sick or showing symptoms, you definitely shouldn’t be seeing clients. We all need to work together to prevent the spread so that we can truly get back to our normal lives soon.
Secondly, visit the CDC Coronavirus website. They update it regularly so you can be sure to have the most updated, accurate information.
Here are the common symptoms of Covid-19 you’re most likely to see.
- Shortness of breath/diffficulty breathing
- New loss of taste/smell
- Muscle Pain
- Sore throat
- Repeated shaking/chills
In addition to the portrait contract you definitely need to have clients sign prior to their session, I highly recommend having clients sign a liability waiver specifically for the virus as soon as they enter your studio.
I found this one at The Legal Paige. I’m sure there are free ones out there if you do a quick search, though.
With a liability waiver, you let your clients know you’re aware of the risks and they should be as well. It also lets them know you’re doing all you can to prevent the spread of the virus. Basically, you’re setting a professional tone from the get go.
P.S. The Lawtog has a free contract for regular portrait sessions, if you need a basic contract. She also has contracts specifically for boudoir photography . We will talk about contracts on another day!
Consults and Ordering Sessions
I highly recommend for now at least that all consults and ordering sessions are Zoom meetings to limit contact with clients. It’s an easy transition honestly. I’ve been doing my sales session like this for over 2 years and I can’t imagine going back to In Person Sales. I save myself travel time and I get to wear my yoga pants and a blanket the whole ordering session.
For your consults, you just do everything the same except you do it through Zoom.
As far as your sales session, technically, this is still IPS.
What you’re doing instead, though, is showing all of your albums and products immediately after the session instead of at the ordering session.
Basically, you’re pre-selling during the session, while they’re still excited, which makes your IPS session so much easier. My sales average has improved by $750 with this model.
The Covid-19 Session Process
For me, my hair and makeup artist works out of my studio, which is 1800 square foot. She has her own space inside that’s around 200 square foot itself, so we have quite a bit of room to work with.
Here’s how we have the process planned out.
- With each client, we each do a health history review and take her temperature and record it before and after each session.
- We have enhanced sanitation/disinfection procedures in accordance with federal and state health safety guidance. I’m really thankful for my dental hygiene background now!
- We’ve planned additional time between appointments to prevent client contact with each other. I plan to photograph 2-3 sessions per day, rather than 5-6, but they will be spread out more than I did prior to Covid-19.
- All surfaces will be wiped thoroughly with hospital grade disinfectant before and after each client. This is hard to find, but with some searching online, you should be able to find some. I highly recommend beginning your search ASAP though because most things are on back order.
- All fabrics will be changed and washed after each session. I have extra sheets and blankets so that’s helpful. My studio also has a washer and dryer thankfully.
- My hair and makeup artist will thoroughly clean hands and wear nitrile gloves when possible, as will I.
- All product bottles used during the makeover will be disinfected and disposable items will be used when possible, all of which she already did anyway.
Confirm clients prior to the session.
When you confirm clients prior to their session, add some additional information to the confirmation email.
Inform clients of the precautions that you plan to implement, but also request they reschedule if they could currently have Covid-19 or been around anyone who may have it.
Here’s how I plan to word this.
Even though I’m taking all session precautions possible, we all need to work together to prevent the spread as well. If you notice any of the following symptoms, please reschedule your session. We would ALL appreciate it. 🙂
- You or anyone in your household has any of these symptoms WITHIN THE LAST 14 DAYS.
- You or anyone in your household have been diagnosed within the the last 30 days with Covid-19.
- Exposure to anyone with Covid-19 in the past 30 days.
- Traveled outside of the U.S. or to any hotspots within the U.S. in the last 30 days.
Client Reschedules will happen.
Some clients may still be uncomfortable when businesses initially open back up. I plan to work with clients should they want to reschedule as long as they give notice and schedule within a few months of the session. This is totally up to your discretion, but be easy going with your clients(without letting yourself be taken advantage of).
Remember, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
I know this is a lot. It’s something we haven’t experienced in our lifetime. We’re all trying to navigate Covid-19 and our new normal the best we can.
Be sure to legally protect yourself and take all the precautions you can to protect yourself and your clients. If you feel uncomfortable with the situation, you don’t HAVE to go back to work yet!
If you have ANY questions whatsoever about any of this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to help you through this crazy time. No strings attached, promise.